Periodontal disease (periodontitis, or gum disease) is a painful condition that is relatively common and can lead to tooth loss. Taking care of oral health is very important in the prevention of this painful and disfiguring problem. Learning how to protect your gums is the best way to combat the formation of gum disease.
Who Is At Risk?
Gum disease can start as early as infancy in high-risk individuals; when babies are left in the crib or car seat with bottles full of sugary drinks such as fruit juice, they can develop cavities in their baby teeth, and eventually lose them to tooth decay – as well as harm their gums, causing pain and inflammation that can carry on even after they are no longer using bottles or “sippy cups”.
In adults, the biggest cause of gums that are painful, inflamed, and prone to ulcers and shrinkage are people who don’t take care of their teeth. Good dental health, including daily brushing of teeth, flossing, and regular dental check-ups, is the very best way to curtail developing gum disease.
Other contributing factors to this problem are the use of chew or cigarettes, eating too many sugary foods, use of medications that lead to dry mouth (many antipsychotic and antidepressant medicines, as well as certain blood pressure medicines, medications for urinary incontinence, antihistamines, bronchodilators, certain antibiotics, narcotic pain medications, and diuretics, are the biggest culprits), including amphetamines can lead to severely dry mouths by slowing or stopping the normal production of saliva.
Saliva is one main preventer of cavities, as normal saliva production helps to rid the teeth of deposits that eat the enamel.
Obese individuals, drug addicts (see above – narcotics and methamphetamine are the most common addictions that lead to tooth loss and gum disease), people with bulimia, and those with autoimmune diseases often develop problems with their gums. Some lesser-known problems are caused by diabetes type 2, genetic disorders, vaping, inadequate nutrition (including severe vitamin deficiency), Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain hormonal changes are all potential causes.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Gum disease is hard to miss, as it is painful. Gums become inflamed, red, may have patches of infected-looking flesh, and will start to recede away from the teeth as the problem becomes severe. Eventually, it can lead to severe tooth loss or sepsis (if the infection is extremely severe in the mouth).
How To Prevent Gum Disease
Life-saving medications aside, many of the contributing factors are preventative – and smoking and chewing tobacco are two of the biggest culprits that can make the problem much less severe if it is stopped.
Notorious viral images of “meth mouth” will easily illustrate how badly amphetamine use can affect oral health. The other major change that should immediately be made is to brush teeth a minimum of once daily, as well as flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly for teeth cleaning.
Products can be used to help dry mouth, which is very helpful for those who can’t control dry mouth issues. Oral rinses and sprays that are specially formulated for gum health are affordable and will provide much relief from pain, as well as helping the mouth feel moist again.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush will avoid accidentally harming the gums from irritating, too-stiff bristles, and brushing teeth/flossing/rinsing with a mouthwash made for gum health after every meal is also highly recommended.
Avoiding Tooth Loss Is Up To You!
Although gum disease is potentially detrimental to dental health and can lead to deformed facial features, as well as awful breath, there are so many easy ways to prevent this fate that anyone determined and motivated to avoid these problems stands an excellent chance of reversing minor gum disease with behavioral changes alone.
If you believe you have gum disease, make an appointment with a dentist today, and realize that it is something that you very likely have control of, if you follow a few simple and easy changes in lifestyle.